He may have arrived on these shores as a relative unknown last summer but Premier League defences are now more than familiar with Christian Benteke. Standing six foot three, the young Belgian has battered and bullied many a backline into submission with a series of physical performances highlighting his suitability to England’s top-flight – on his broad shoulders, Villa’s chances of survival may well just depend.
It took him less than 20 minutes to announce himself to Fantasy managers. Sent on as a 71st minute sub in the Gameweek 4 home clash against Swansea, Benteke grabbed a goal in a 2-0 win, helping Paul Lambert’s side to their first win of the season. Since then, the former Genk player has started every league match for the midlanders and has played a part in 15 of the 22 goals Villa have scored since his debut – an incredible contribution, which has seen him rack up 11 goals and four assists thus far.
With spot-kick duties also in the bag, Benteke has made a mockery of his initial 6.5 price tag in Fantasy Premier League (FPL) and, with 16 bonus points also accrued, has returned 115 points over his 24 appearances – an average of 4.6 points per game. As the season reaches a critical stage for Lambert’s struggling side, Benteke’s displays alone can be immune from criticism; he has scored in two of his last three at home and notched in three of the last four on the road.
Luckily for the Villa faithful, the upcoming schedule smiles kindly on their side. Having slipped back into the drop zone in recent weeks, Lambert’s troops now face the bottom two in back-to-back Gameweeks, with a trip to Reading this weekend followed by a home clash with QPR. Following that, Benteke welcomes Liverpool to Villa Park – a side he registered two goals and an assist against back in mid-December – and with games against Stoke and Fulham also on his agenda in the next five, the potential for points is obvious.
Now up to 7.0 in FPL, and priced at 7.5 Sky Sports game, Benteke has been snapped up by over 25,000 FPL managers this week ahead of a Gameweek that has just six fixtures for us to consider. While Charles N’Zogbia has hinted at a return to his Wigan form in recent fixtures, the Frenchman’s lack of overall consistency has failed to persuade many to snap up his services – instead, it’s Benteke who looks the man most likely. Granted, he may be vying for our attentions with a series of similarly priced strikers such as Romelu Lukaku, Rickie Lambert, Steven Fletcher and Arouna Kone but, as he’s illustrated already, Benteke is more than ready for the battle.
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For Gameweek 38
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